Many factors seem to increase the risk of developing or triggering depression, whether it's atypical or not. Risk factors include:

  • Depression that started when you were a teen or child
  • History of bipolar disorder
  • Abuse of alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Traumatic childhood experiences
  • Certain personality traits, such as low self-esteem or being overly dependent
  • Serious illness, such as cancer or heart disease
  • Certain medications, such as some high blood pressure medications or sleeping pills (talk to your doctor before stopping any medication)
  • Financial problems

Family history and issues with family or others may also increase your risk of depression:

  • Biological (blood) relatives with a history of depression, bipolar disorder or alcoholism
  • Stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one
  • Depression after giving birth (postpartum depression)
  • Family members who committed suicide
  • Few friends or other personal relationships
Sep. 20, 2012